Why are you surprised?

Monday, August 4, 2008
For those people who are oh so excited about the new Xbox live Mii- err avatars life was beautiful. Until rumors popped up about accessories for said avatars costing money. All of a sudden the Live boards are awash with angry gamers decrying the shady baby candy stealing ways of Microsoft. "How dare they charge us to dress our avatars in things!" many are heard to say. I for one am not surprised.

To be completely honest, I never expected extra accessories to be free. We already pay for premium gamerpics, and since those will be essentially replaced by the avatars, I expect there to be similar charges for new avatar duds. No one, from Microsoft or elsewhere, said they would be free to begin with. From the language used by the spokemen at E3, it sounds like creating an avatar will be free, and they will have a bank of clothes and such right off the bat. Down the road Microsoft will expand the library of options, and that's when I think we'll see the pay sets pop up.

I imagine the payed accessories will be themed, much as the gamerpics are now. You'll pay for a Gears of War 2 set of clothes, maybe some cartoony COG armor, or shirts with the logo on it. You'll buy a Penny Arcade themed set and make your avatar loke like Gabe, Tycho or maybe even FF. Essentially the same system we use for gamerpics, but with a broader range of customization.

I'll be trying to pry some information from the Microsoft booth folk at PAX, until then I can only call this a theory. Whatever the finished product looks like, I'm sure most of the folks donning their warpaint will settle down and quietly return to their console to dress their avatars in ever more lustrous regalia.